So I finally switched. Having had my Thinkpad x300 stolen on my 13th trip to Barcelona (at Mobile World Congress) then slumming it with a Netbook after the replacement Asus 3810T which I bought had a hard disk crash, I’ve defected to a shiny new Apple Mac Book Pro 2.66ghz 13inch dual core.
I’ve dabbled with Apple before, as early as a G4 desktop; but it as never been “quite right”. The upside never seemed up enough. I like the fact I can get into Microsoft Windows and configure everything and the glossy shininess of Apple has never been a primary reason for me to switch.
I want power, practicability and need everything to plug into to everything else. I use a Blackberry, but also an Android phone. I want my email and contacts synced, I use a plethora of apps and dont want to be “forced” to do things Apple’s way.
So in short, if you’re trying to decide, how has it gone for me? Well, thank god for Parallels Desktop (or you can use VMWare Fusion) which allows me to run XP or Windows 7). There are still things I need (eg. Quickbooks Accounts) which I cant run on Mac. It is not perfect doing this, but it is about as close as you can expect, with Windows programs running alongside the Mac native programs.
I LOVE IBM Thinkpad keyboards, and Lenovo have kept them the same since they bought the brand from IBM. The MacBook keyboard, despite resembling Scrabble pieces, is not as bad as I expected, although it is not perfect. The keys ARE too raised and far apart…but I guess I will have to get used to it.
It is quick. There is no question. Browsing is faster. Even using Firefox in OSX.
Quirks and Erks
The other software I’m still getting in to. The docking bar and its strange combination of minimisation when you click X on a window but it still keeps the program running; the inconsistent loading/install routine for programs (with Thunderbird being completely weird) is still bugging me. (Thunderbird btw is COMPLETELY unstable and I’m having to defect to Apple Mac Mail which is annoying me, despite it being a fast and clean program.
The screen is great.
The battery is NOT as advertised; I’ll be lucky to get 5 hours. 11 hours is a myth.
Once I tuck into some design work or video editing I’m sure I’ll like it more, but thus far, thanks to Apple Macs, frankly becoming more like Windows machines, in terms of running non-Apple specific hardware (like mice) and supporting more diverse software (Blackberry has finally released a sync program) it has not SO FAR been painful.
However, that is as much because most of my apps are now in the cloud, as much as anything else.
If you’re thinking of switching, ask yourself why. And depending on the answer then make the decision. I’m not yet an Apple-ite and unlikely to be; but the general stability and speed, thus far, is giving me relief. Now I just need to get my remaining software etc setup… wish me luck.
Quick reference stuff to know:
- The Good
- My Dropbox works great
- Parallel Windows works as advertised for XP or W7
- Firefox plugins work great in OSX
- Great looking interface
- Much greater support for software and plugins over last 2 years
- Inbuilt DVD player with no drawer to break
- Super smooth DVD/HD playback
- MACs now work with most PC peripherals (I said most, not all)
- The Bad
- Thunderbird is unstable (for me anyway)
- Skype notification sounds you have to click down through the menu options to turn each one off
- Growl is a notifications tool loaded into the system which provides popups for Tweetdeck and others
- Battery does not last 11 hours or even 8
- No delete key (you have to use Function + backspace)
- No hash key (you have to use ALT + 3) ..i mean, wtf?
- The keyboard – AGAIN; really it is quite annoying
- Expensive compared to PCs of similar spec
- MAC mail needs a plugin (!) to show three column view, not two column view (google for it)
- No hibernate support by default (again you need a plugin, i mean seriously? the Sleep mode uses battery)
- Edge of the MacBook Pro case slices against my lazy wrists
- Most control keys are via CMD command key not control, which is uncomfortably close to the space bar and too central
- Return / enter key is a tad too small